Thursday, February 21, 2013

Calling All GLAD Alumni!

By Robbie Samuels, Senior Manager of Events and Donor Engagement

Did you intern, volunteer or work at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders sometime over the last 35 years? Thank you! You helped pave the way for GLAD to become the groundbreaking legal rights organization we are today.

Many of our earliest interns, staff and founding board members (e.g. Urvashi Vaid, Richard Burns and Cindy Rizzo) went on to become leaders in the LGBT movement. Which made me wonder – where are all of our alumni now?

Haven’t been in touch recently? Are you in the Boston area? Join us at our next GLADHour on Wednesday, February 27. Held three times a year, these happy hours for fans of LGBTQ equality are the perfect opportunity to reconnect with GLAD and meet some of our amazing supporters.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Know Your Rights: LGBTQ Youth Rights in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems

by Bruce Bell, Legal InfoLine Manager

In a recent post, I focused on the rights that students, particularly public school students, have and the anti-discrimination laws that provide protection to youth as well as adults in employment, housing and public accommodations.

GLAD’s Youth Initiative is also working to make sure youth in the child welfare system or the juvenile justice system know their rights, and we are exploring ways to increase those protections. 

If your rights are being violated or you have questions about your rights, or if you work with LGBTQ youth in one of these areas and have questions, GLAD would like to hear from you.  Contact GLAD’s Legal InfoLine by email or live chat or call our toll-free number, 800-455-GLAD (4523).  A friendly volunteer will assist you—it’s free and confidential.

LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system have the right to safe and appropriate placements, free from discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, and have the right to:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

New England has led the nation in affirming the love and commitment of same-sex couples and families.

From securing the rights of same-sex couples to adopt children, to elevating protections for civil unions, to celebrating groundbreaking marriage equality in Massachusetts 10 years ago this year - with Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine (and hopefully soon Rhode Island) following suit, GLAD is proud to be a part of ensuring that the love shared in LGBT families and relationships can thrive and flourish.

Take a look at some heart-warming New England love stories below, and have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Behind the (Event) Wizard’s Curtain

By Savannah Hughes, Special Events Intern 

Get ready for a “behind-the-scenes” look at special events at GLAD. With three new interns, the events team has more than doubled this year. We’re the bells and whistles people - we make sure everything runs smoothly by managing data, engaging with donors, and investigating great places for events. We’ll be regularly blogging about what we’re focused on and what’s on the horizon.

Meet the team who will be bringing you all of these amazing GLAD events:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Know Your Rights: DOMA and Tax Season

Suzanne Artis on one of the many ways DOMA hurts her family at tax time:
"I don’t like to have to divide [my children] up. They’re not property, they’re my family."

by Bruce Bell, Legal InfoLine Manager

Like most of us right now, you are probably working on, or thinking about, filing your federal and state income tax returns.  For married same-sex couples, the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) makes tax time extra stressful - as the New York Times pointed out yesterday. Because of DOMA, the federal government – and some states - will not allow you to file your taxes as the married couple or family that you are.

GLAD has led the fight to knock out DOMA through litigation and public education since same-sex couples first began marrying in 2004. Currently, we are orchestrating the critical friend-of-the-court briefing strategy in the DOMA challenge being heard by the Supreme Court this session, Windsor v. United States.  We anticipate that the Supreme Court will rule on DOMA’s constitutionality by the end of June. If DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, most of the federal discrimination married same-sex couples experience should end. 

See the end of this post for information on how you may be able to preserve a claim to a refund of federal taxes you over paid due to DOMA, if and when the law is finally declared unconstitutional.

But first, since we are still living with DOMA for now, we have put together a summary of how to file your state and federal taxes, with links to our more comprehensive resources.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy GSA Day!

Today is National GSA Day!  GSAs, or Gay Straight Alliances, can help make schools more welcoming, empowering and safer for LGBTQ students.

If you attend a school that receives federal funding - that's all public schools and even many private schools - you have a right to form a GSA if your school allows any extracurricular groups.

Your school cannot treat your GSA any differently.  This means you get the same rights, privileges and access as any other group or club.

If you have questions about forming a GSA or encounter problems at your school, email GLAD's Legal InfoLine at or call us at 800-455-GLAD.

You can also read more about your rights in our publication The Right to Establish a GSA.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Know Your Rights: GLAD's Youth Initiative

GLAD is expanding our Youth Initiative with the goals of both fighting for additional rights and protections for LGBTQ youth and, of equal importance, empowering LGBTQ youth through knowledge of the many rights and protections that currently exist in New England.  Knowledge is power. If you know your rights, you’ll know when they are being violated. GLAD can work with you to make sure that you are treated justly both in and out of school.

Let’s start in school.